Ryan Anderson has a mixed practice in employment, civil, housing and family law. To celebrate Pro Bono Week, he discusses one of his pro bono work from the past year.
Please tell us about the pro bono work you did
I appeared pro bono on behalf of a father in private child law proceedings. The case was one that Lily Cooke had brought with her when she joined chambers. Lily had been deeply involved but was unable to attend the final hearing, so I took on the case.
What impact did the pro bono work have on the people and communities you worked with?
Our client was grateful to have legal representation during what were understandably emotionally charged proceedings. Without legal advice the whole process had the potential to be rather overwhelming for him.
(The father was facing 2 applications by the mother. One was for costs following a fact-finding hearing about abuse allegations concerning their young daughter. The other was for removal of his parental responsibility.)
Did your pro bono work have an impact on your professional career? If so, in what ways?
Although family law is a decreasing proportion of my practice, in the judgment the judge praised Lily, our instructing solicitor and me for working pro bono for the father. It is always a boost to get positive judicial feedback.
Any final comments
To quote HHJ Dias’s words from the judgment, without members of the legal profession working pro bono ‘many cases could not proceed effectively or would take significantly longer’. In my experience there is a fantastic commitment at the Bar to pro bono work.
I think we all need to do our bit when we can.